In response to Shane’s “It Could Happen to You . . . “

8 05 2012

Death is hard enough.  Imagine your  significant other  dies, but you don’t have any rights, because you never got married or you never could get married.  Shane knows exactly what that means, he lived it. He  shows us what his life used to be. His happy life with his partner Tom. And what happens when it’s taken all away—even the chance to grieve  like everyone else.

Watch his 10 minute video and share it. Make this video go viral.

http://youtu.be/pR9gyloyOjM

Press the LIKE button for  EqualLoveEqualRights on Facebook.

http://www.facebook.com/EqualLoveEqualRights

I’ve said this before. We all have a 100% chance of dying. None of us knows when or where. So it’s best to be prepared for it. Just a little bit. I’m not talking about buying a cemetery plot and having your name carved into stone years before you actually make it into the ground. That creeps me out.  I’m talking about taking precautions for your family.

What if you’re still alive, but in a coma ( unable to speak or move, unaware of your surroundings), who would make medical decisions for you? Are you sure? Do you have it writing? Not something you scribbled on a McDonald’s napkin. That doesn’t count. Unless you have it in writing, your next of kin will be your voice.  They get to talk with the doctors to determine your treatment plan. How long you stay on the ventilator. Whether or not your organs get donated.  Whether or not you’ll get to live out the rest of your life as a vegetable with a feeding tube.

Those same next of  kin will be making your financial decisions while you’re in a coma or dead. They’ll get to divvy up your belongings and have an estate auction.  Whose name is on the house? The car? What about your pet?

Don’t leave your loved one alone and unprepared to fight your homophobic, insensitive and/or greedy family.  Make your wishes known today. Get it in writing with witnesses. Go to the Notary Republic. See a lawyer.  Your partner could lose their house, business or life savings because of your inability to see your own mortality.

Shane is right. It could happen to you.  It happened to me. I was only 25. Just because you’re young, does not make you immune to mortality. I was lucky. I might have been only a roommate, but at least I got to go to the funeral.

Don’t wait until marriage is legal. GLBTQ community  get your shit together.  Fight for equality, but see a lawyer!

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The Longest Relationship I Ever Had

25 09 2009

10 years and 7 months—something like that. Almost everything I know about nursing, I learned there. My job has probably been the only stable thing in my life. I have moved 8 times, lost 2 partners, almost lost my mom, watched my father-in-law die, started and abandoned the MSN program and finished my MFA. That’s the short version.

 Even before the restructuring, I knew the end was drawing near.  I could feel it at 6:30 am as I walked down the long corridor. I wondered how many more times I would ride the elevator to my floor. What was next? I kept having dreams about tornadoes and tsunamis. These dreams are often about change and rebirth. I thought maybe I would die in a fiery plane crash on my way to Nebraska. That obviously didn’t happen.

 Yesterday I worked the last day at my 1st nursing job. I didn’t know it was going to be my last day until the day before. It was anti-climatic. A regular let’s discharge everybody Friday. No bangles. No buzzers. No banners. Just an e-mail on how I’ll leave a void. Assholes leave voids too.

 Packed up my stash of snacks. Emptied the freezer. Shredded my mail file and evaluation portfolio. Picked out the books that were still relevant.

All day I made a list in my head of the things that I won’t miss. All the discharge paper work—not many people are discharged on the night shift. Not having a bright light over the bed. Being on the last floor the doctors come to round. Getting up at 4:30am. The constant ring of the phone. Semi-private rooms. Medications in a million different places. Being Vocera-ed for stupid ass shit—but maybe that will be somebody else’s job.

J.G. asked me if I was a little sad. She asked if I was going to miss them. I said that I was and that I would, but I hesitated a little and laughed at the end. So she didn’t believe me. You’re not really sad, she said. Well, I am, but I don’t want to be. And I most certainly don’t want to be in front of people. It’s hard to be sad when I know I’m only going to be 5 floors down, and in all likelihood will be back as a float staff from my new floor. And it’s hard to be sad when I don’t feel anything yet. Except a sinking, nauseated feeling in my stomach. Besides nobody died. Everybody is still right there where I left them—for now.

I stood in my boss’s office to say good-bye. I think maybe she was holding back tears. Maybe. It was verging on something emotional, and I didn’t like it. I had this compulsion to hug her, but I know she doesn’t like hugs. Instead I said, this feels weird, so I’m out of here.

Truthfully, I’m scared shitless. I’ll be the one orientating, not mentoring someone else.  I’ll be the new person. I’ll be the person who doesn’t know stuff. And I’m really going to miss them.





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The Manufactured Nursing Shortage

14 08 2009

In 1986 my Allergist told me there would be a nursing shortage in 2000. I was 10 years old, I believed anything my doctor told me. I’m not sure why I remember him telling me that. Why would a 10 year old care if there was going to be any kind of shortage in the future unless it was chocolate ice cream or pizza or something of immediate value. Besides, I had plans to become a doctor, an Allergist or a Pulmonologist. I could see the years of schooling stretched out before me.

At 13 writing seemed like the profession for me. I would create these stories and write my friends in as characters. I made them laugh. I had no problems with chemistry and biology. And math—I could do it. But every night it was a struggle, Dad helping me with my math homework and me crying. Some story problem about polka-dot shirts. I don’t think we ever got that one right. English made sense. I wanted to be Anne of Green Gables. I wanted to be V.C. Andrews. That’s before I realized that V.C. Andrews was not good literature. 

But I sobered up and chose a nursing major. It was practical, and I didn’t know what else to do. I could always write in my spare time.

In 1996 there weren’t waiting lists to get into GVSU Kirkhof School of nursing. And you didn’t need a 4.0 to get either. There seemed to be plenty of instructors.

Currently, there are not enough nursing instructors to teach the amount of students who are waiting. But this is manufactured. When I was in nursing school, they were starting to phase out all the instructors who did not have their doctorate. A masters degree in nursing wasn’t good enough to teach it anymore. This completely eliminated the number of available instructors thus creating a “shortage.”  With fewer instructors, GVSU was forced to admit less nursing students to its program. And this created the waiting list and ridiculously high standards. Especially when I hear that they are picking students based solely on grade point averages. I’m sorry this doesn’t make a good nurse.

I didn’t remember this until just last week. But they told us in 1998 that hospital nursing was on its way out, because hospital stays were not has long and many surgeries were being done on an outpatient basis. Since I started in 1999, I have seen a decrease in admissions for rotator cuff repairs and ACL repairs.  People go home the same day. I have seen people have microdiskectomies and go home the same day.

The hospitals in the area have very few positions open for RNs. The ones listed are part-time, prn or on-call. Hospitals w, x, y, z.  Hospital W mandated a wage freeze, laid off nurses and restructured. Hospital X is not doing so well after building a new hospital. They have cut employee hours. I expect them to go under and be bought about by Hospital Z. Hospital Y is also not doing so well after building a new hospital. Hospital Z was in a hiring freeze for about a year. Hospital V seems to be doing okay—they have the most job postings. Hospital U is a floundering small hospital that closed one of its specialty areas. I really don’t know that they do much of anything.

I can definitely say that there is not a nursing shortage in the hospital industry.